Multiple vaccines have been developed for COVID-19 around the world. The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca was tested in Phase I/II, Phase II/III, and Phase III studies and the results confirmed that the vaccine was effective.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in many countries including the UK. Mass vaccination against COVID-19 started in the UK in early December 2020 and is likely to continue until mid-2021. The AstraZeneca vaccine is now being tested in a Phase II study in children.
Other candidate vaccines are being tested in the COVAC1, CROWN CORONATION, and ENSEMBLE 2 trials. There are also vaccines in development from Valneva and the University of Queensland. The safety of all of the vaccines is being monitored by the VAC4COVID study initially launching in the UK and by the ZVAC study in Switzerland.
The COV-COMPARE study is comparing the immunogenicity of two doses of the AstraZeneca and Valneva vaccines, while the Com-COV and Com-COV2 studies are comparing different combinations of vaccines (e.g. the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines) for the prime and boost doses, as well as comparing 4-week and 12-week intervals between doses.
The duration of protection of the current vaccines is unknown and further booster doses may be needed in 9 to 12 months’ time, which may coincide with seasonal influenza vaccination. Delivering COVID-19 and influenza vaccines at separate appointments will cause significant logistical challenges, so the ComFluCOV trial is determining the safety and immune response when both vaccines are given in different arms at the same appointment. Testing has proven to be key for containing the spread of the virus. The results of the CoV-19POC study showed that a new point-of-care test for COVID-19 provides results more quickly and could lead to improved infection control measures and patient flow compared with centralized laboratory PCR testing.
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